What is Texas Intoxication Manslaughter? If you have been the subject of a Harris County Arrest for Texas Intoxication Manslaughter, it is important to know these are extremely grave charges requiring experienced Houston DWI Lawyers. Texas DWI Laws are tough, and Texas Intoxication Manslaughter penalties are especially harsh. If you have been charged with Texas Intoxication Manslaughter, you need to have a thorough understanding of Texas DWI Laws—or have Houston DWI Attorneys working on your behalf. Harris County Jail is a very real possibility following a Harris County Arrest for Texas Intoxication Manslaughter.
This charge applies to situations in which an intoxicated person has operated a motor vehicle, causing the death of another human. The state of Texas is currently the only state which identifies intoxication manslaughter as an independent offense. Other states identify the crime as DUI manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury or death, or similar terms.
Killing another human being is homicide, however there are different “levels” of homicide. As an example, if a person intends to kill another person, and does so, then this is known as murder. On the other hand, a killing which occurs accidentally, or a killing in self-defense, is usually a less serious charge of manslaughter. When a death occurs as a result of manslaughter, then the person who killed another person did so without premeditation and without any malicious intent. Since manslaughter typically involves an “excuse” or, at the very least, an explanation, the defendant is considered less culpable.
That being said, Texas Intoxication Manslaughter charges can nonetheless result in grave penalties. When a person drinks, gets behind the wheel and is involved in an auto crash which kills another person, then intoxication manslaughter could be charged. The person killed could be a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a motorcyclist, a driver or passenger in another car, or a passenger in the intoxicated person’s car. Even if the death does not occur immediately, if the person later dies from injuries sustained in the crash caused by the intoxicated person, then Texas Intoxication Manslaughter could be charged, requiring knowledgeable Houston Criminal Lawyers.
The term “intoxication” refers not only to being drunk on alcohol, but also to being high from an illegal or even prescription drug (if too many prescription pain pills were taken, as an example). Being drunk or high can significantly impair a person’s ability to drive in a safe manner. Intoxication may be measured through blood tests, breathalyzer tests or field sobriety tests. Alcohol consumption is measured through blood alcohol level testing (BAC) with the legal limit being 0.08 percent. Drug testing can be a bit more difficult to interpret, since marijuana can be detected in the system as long as 30 days after use. Field Sobriety Test results are notoriously incorrect as well and even BAC tests can have some issues. Texas Intoxication Manslaughter applies not only to an intoxicated person driving a vehicle, but also to an intoxicated person flying a plane, driving a boat, or even operating a carnival or amusement park ride.
Penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter in the State of Texas - Texas Intoxication Manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony in the state of Texas. Second-degree felonies carry a potential punishment of 2-20 years in prison, and a fine as large as $10,000. Depending on the circumstances of the Intoxication Manslaughter, the penalties can increase. If there were multiple victims, you could be charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter, and if you were to be convicted on each charge and given a 15-year sentence for each, the judge may, under Texas law, “stack” the penalties, meaning you could potentially end up serving 30 years in prison. A Harris County District Attorney may allege the vehicle you were driving was a “deadly weapon,” meaning you committed intoxication assault. If this is the case, you could spend more time in prison prior to becoming eligible for parole, and the judge could be prohibited from sentencing you to probation. In the state of Texas, in addition to prison time and high fines, you could also be sentenced to mandatory community service—while the law provides you must serve at least 240 hours of community service, the judge can increase that to as much as 800 hours.
Difficulties Associated with Defending Against Texas Intoxication Manslaughter - Media coverage of an Intoxication Manslaughter case is likely to far exceed many other types of criminal offenses. Groups such as MADD may push hard to ensure you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Of course, you want to avoid Harris County Jail if at all possible. Following your Harris County Arrest, it is extremely important to have knowledgeable Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers to defend you. Although your exact circumstances will, to some extent, dictate the final outcome, having experienced Houston DWI Lawyers can certainly result lesser charges, a not-guilty verdict, or a lesser sentence. Even if you do not think you were at fault in the accident, speak to Houston Criminal Lawyers immediately so you can properly be advised of your options and have your rights protected.
Getting the Help You Need Following Your DWI in Texas Intoxication Manslaughter Charges - Your Houston DWI Lawyers may try to prove your driving while under the influence was not directly responsible for the death of another person. This may be established through eyewitness testimony, or your Houston Criminal Lawyers may need to establish reasonable doubt surrounding the accident’s circumstances. As an example, suppose you did have too much to drink, but you are driving home in a reasonably safe manner when another person blows through a stop light, causing you to hit them. While you could still be charged with DWI in Texas, your Houston DWI Attorneys could potentially prevent you from being charged with DWI Intoxication. Following your charges of Intoxication Manslaughter, seek out a Houston Criminal Lawyer Free Consultation from the firm of Sullo & Sullo. We are premier Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers with Payment Plans and will work hard on your behalf to minimize the penalties associated with your Intoxication Manslaughter charges.